Sunday, October 28, 2018

2019 mid-term elections as crucial turning point for Filipinos

Aside from an expected further rise of prices of oil and foodstuffs, 2019 is most likely to be the year when Philippine democracy is to be put in its most severest test. If we don't act in the most appropriate manner by May of 2019, we might actually see ourselves under an autocratic regime which would allow foreign forces to actually manage these lands under their shadow.

Don't blame me if this happens.

Many analysts see the 2019 mid-term elections as a test for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's administration. I see 2019 beyond this. Mr. Duterte is only one factor here. I see 2019 as a penultimate test of how resilient or how weak our democracy is. It is not about Mr. Duterte's legitimacy as a leader that is the main concern of this 2019 mid-term election--it is the entire legitimacy of our democratic processes that will be put under tremendous stress by next year.

Be forewarned--- several serious anti-democratic forces, these so-called right-wing elements are fast consolidating themselves to achieve their objective of snatching political power right under the noses of the incumbent administration.

These elements want nothing more than centralize all power into their hands. Okey if the motivation is at best patriotic, but honestly, it is not. The booty is worth trillions of dollars for the victorious bunch and the right to govern 101 million souls---a huge market if you ask me.

These hungry wolves were born without brains and equipped with demons' hearts. They felt that they were deprived of opportunities by this system and they want nothing more than see this system burn, but not first stealing every penny inside that huge public chest.

It's okey if these gentlemen and a lady want nothing more than see a better country afterwards. The thing is, these people only want to enrich themselves while being praised and feted by a starry-eyed Hollywood celebrity worshipping mob. This is not about love of country--this is about love of money and the Mammon of celebrity.

Worse, we will probably see ourselves being handed over to one of three superpowers. We currently have a very weak state, and weak states such as ours are ripe for the picking.

A superpower does not need to mobilize thousands of its armed men to a territory and physically rule it. No.

It only needs a pliant polity to agree and believe in the numbers posted in an electronic billboard, showing the winning teams for our local government units and our legislature.

Be forewarned--this so-called "winning teams" may actually be stooges of a foreign power now salivating to conquer us either by flooding our immigration gates of them millions or thru proxies willing to sell their Filipino identities and souls just to get billions worth of windfall.

There is sufficient evidence to believe that some of those running national and local posts are actually members of a foreign political party or at the minimum, Filipinos being fed thru the mouth by aggressive imperialists cloaked in angelic robes.

Who are these traitors of the Inang Bayan? These are those who are willing to hand this country over to foreigners in exchange for enormous economic concessions.

This mid-term elections is not just about Mr. Duterte, oh no.

This is about how much do we love freedom and how much do we really love these lands where we first saw the light. If we don't prepare and if we loosen our guards, we might actually see ourselves enslaved once more by a foreign power.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Our Desire for Change is Socialistic

If you seriously look at it, what the so-called Left and Neo-Left wing sector in our society is fighting for is very simple-- it is to allow productive forces in Philippine society to experience justice and contribute towards the full development of this country as a capitalist economy. Many of you, my readers would probably contradict me about this assertion. I tell you---this is the real purpose why thousands are scaling urban and rural heights and that is, to decimate the forces of oppression and liberate these productive forces for capitalism here in the Philippines achieve its fullest expression.

As a scholar, I find nothing wrong with Socialism, or even for that matter, Communism. Socialism is all about equity. It is about love of others. The fact is, Socialism is the highest form of love. Where can you find an ideology that urges you to eliminate your greed for the sake of the many, or asks you to consider limiting the number of your properties so that some other Filipinos might be able to use them to get their subsistence? You ask--is it fair that the concept of private property be eliminated so as to eradicate one or some of the causes of extreme poverty? Yes, under the principle that when society cures itself of its maladies, you would be one of those who would benefit from it.

Someone would ask me--is Nationalism the same as Socialism? Nationalism is an expression of self-rule or self-determination. Socialism while it shares some of the extrinsic aspects of Nationalism, has an intrinsic value, and that is, Socialism teaches one how to live simply and equitably in relation to others. Is the concept of fair value of work, wrong? No. The fact is, it is being practised now in several progressive countries.

Protecting one's industries is a nationalistic, even a Patriotic act. Doing exactly so is expressing Socialist solidarity with others because this ideology aims to develop key industries for the sake of the many, and not a privileged few. Under Socialism, the state will be used to achieve national industrialisation, isn't that wonderful? To be able to have our own steel and minerals extraction industries, to have our own car manufacturing industry, our own food security infrastructure, our own industry to develop our self-defence capabilities and so on and so forth. That simply means more jobs to more Filipinos.

When we are able to develop our own industries, we will be able to provide millions of jobs to our fellow Filipinos. Of course, profits from these industries will definitely go to the State which will be used to further develop other more substantive industries and to further improve our social condition.

The stark difference between what is happening now and what will happen under Socialism is the issue on profits. Under the most misinterpreted capitalist concept of laissez-faire, individuals and not peoples are entitled to profit under the capitalist system as a right, and not a privilege. When you invest on something and employ people to produce something, you have the right to profit from it.

Under Socialism, these profits are collectivised but it does not mean that the investor will not get what he deserves. He does based on an equitable computation of it.

These are just some of the differences. What I am asking you my dear readers and those who read this blog entry is simply eliminate the state-created anti-Socialist concepts in your minds and consider opening yourself with this concept.

What is so wrong with asking for equal access to economic opportunities? What is so wrong with creating a government truly democratic, as in being run by the representatives of the basic sectors of our society? What is so wrong with allowing research and scientific inquiry to dominate our mindsets and be more discerning in our lives?

Nothing except that this will allow more people to get their lives better and more improved, and eliminate the concept of classes that hinder our development as a Filipino nation.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hiya and its absence in Philippine society

Several years ago, I was invited as a guest in a GMA 7 show hosted by Winnie Monsod and Oca Orbos. I was asked--what ails our society and without even thinking, I told them " we are now a society peopled with individuals na wala nang hiya."

Thank our leaders for leading us to this pitiful direction.

Hiya is more than what its English transliterated term meant. For most, hiya means "being ashamed" or "losing face." For Filipinos, hiya is deeper than being just ashamed or losing face.  My former professor Ed. Zeus Salazar described hiya as one's sense of propriety.

Doing something legal but largely perceived as shameful is having "hiya." In today's world, doing legal acts while shameful is okey, like what former Senator Alan Peter Cayetano told the media when asked why is he and his wife running as legislators under different districts--are they separated?  I would not belabour my readers about this topic. There is an interesting article written by Ledivina Carino, entitled, " The Definition of Graft and Corruption and the Conflict of Ethics and Law" published by the Philippine Journal of Public Administration, vol. 13, nos. 3& 4 (1979) about this.

Hiya is more of a term which means restraint. It is disallowing oneself to commit an act which will harm other people or society as a whole. Or committing an act while a mob cheers on and knowing full well that such an act will eventually place the people in a precarious and humiliating situation in the end is an absence of hiya.

Hiya is about minding what happens to the rest of us instead of pursuing selfish things. It is sacrificing one's condition and safety for the sake of others. Allowing pedestrians to cross the street is hiya. Lining up or queuing up in a gasoline station or grocery is hiya. Allowing someone to speak his mind first is hiya.

Not stealing public monies while you know that no one is looking or will know about it, is hiya. Following speed limits, conserving water, and taking care of the widows, the poor and the orphans are all forms of hiya.

Not raising the prices of your goods or not keeping voluminous stocks of it in your warehouses just to create an artificial rate crisis is simply ka-walang hiyaan or the absence of hiya.

Hiya is being socially conscious and responsible for the widespread effects of your actions. Not exercising your power to claim a life is hiya. Not flaunting your power while you have all the right is hiya. Restraining yourself to curse others while you have all the freedom to do so, is hiya.

Ask yourself--why are some people stealing our monies? It is because they presume that the impropriety that they'll be doing would not be discovered. And if discovered, then, they simply shrug their shoulders and say, so be it. We should strike these people from our midst.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Our Urgent Task--- Elect Six Wise Senatoriables

Like any other juncture in our checkered history as a people, we are often faced with two contrasting and often contradictory views on how to change things. This reflects the body politics of our Republic. And in this 2019 mid-term elections, we will be witnessing the clash of two groups of elites  desirous to attain more power than the other.

Frankly, we will face again a choice of the lesser evil. This is our reality.  Those whose hearts are pure face the possibility of defeat primarily because the very system had been structured to discourage the brave and the beautiful among us, and is the stumping ground of the moneyed and the corrupt. We live in an illusion of democracy. We are glad that every three years we get to experience "democracy at work" only to find ourselves getting more enslaved by the Oligarchs and often always victimised by the corrupted ones.

I believe that more people know this as a fact, that explains why some of us choose to leave these shores and why some choose to stay and fight the system in our small ways. The promise of change thru small acts face the paradox of time, that while these small acts do change some things, it does not even affect the very structure that perpetuates the cyclical problems that affect millions of us. And it is not just time but space that negates this belief of doing small things are good. This belief is just for us to really be patient and still hope that something will happen, someday.

Those who seek change want nothing more than assist in the full development of our capitalist system as a full capitalist state.  The equalisation of economic opportunities can only happen under a capitalist system. When we eliminate the issues that deter our progression to a more developed capitalist system, we achieve what most want and desire--- the possibility of shifting towards a more socialised economic system. A socialist revolution is definitely an achievable goal, but at this point, our urgent task is to allow the forces of production to fully develop and with it, the further strengthening of the state as a people's weapon against the ruling elites.

Our fundamental enemies are these Oligarchs who control the very levers of our economy. The state must be made a weapon to defang them and create more economic opportunities to more people. The concentration of capital in the hands of a few is the core problem. The solution therefore is not to fully allow these Oligarchs to expand and perpetuate their hold to economic power. It is to make the state the main competitor of the oligarchs in the market so that the people might have a fighting chance to economic equity and parity.

A change therefore in the governance model, from a unitary republican to a federal one is a non-issue. It is not the solution to our fundamental headaches. What it does is just to re-direct or divert our attention to the real cause of our misery--the predatory state. The state must be changed from being a predator to a defender of democracy. It is now a predator because the Oligarchs fully control the state and use it to amass wealth. We therefore must liberate the state from the capture of these Oligarchs and use it to smash these Oligarchs to smithereens.

The first step- our urgent task therefore-- is to elect six honourable men and women to the Senate, those who will commit themselves to the right path, and that is, to prevent efforts to push us towards the Federalist way. This is a path which has a precipice that leads us to an unknowable future. Jumping off a cliff and risking something is valuable if at least we see the bottom end. Unfortunately under the Federalist system, we don't know where this will lead us. We only know that it is a better system. We just don't exactly know how much disruption the shift will create, and because of this, it is imperative for us to campaign against it--for the meantime.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Inter-elite fighting in Philippines to be resolved thru elections--for now.

So, the Duterte issue is to be resolved thru the 2019 mid-term elections. This elections is significant for two (2) reasons: first, it is test whether Filipinos had gone past their populist likings and second, a gauge of public support of Mr. Duterte.

The political booty in this elections? Trillions of pesos worth of infrastructure projects, thanks to TRAIN law, government is now collecting billions from the hard-earned monies of the ordinary citizen.

For those who know their history, existing conditions mimic those in 1969 when Ferdinand Marcos campaigned for his second term. There's a raging insurgency in the countrysides while the centre of commerce grapples with serious problems such as foreign investment outflow and a weak bourse. Political oligarchs are busy trying to maintain the status quo while their counterparts in the economic sector try to maintain their balance sheets in the black.

So this election is very important because it will determine the political future not just of Mr. Duterte but of succeeding leaders of the new generation. There should be a harmonious succession otherwise whatever happens in 2019 might define future polls.

A violence-prone elections could provoke or justify military intervention which to my mind, could damage democratic institutions.

A win by the opposition will surely and further weaken Mr. Duterte's hold on to power. The so-called administration party enjoys one thing--funding. Those who are in the running know very well that in actual political battles that they face, funding is an important element to success.

Duterte dumps Roque unceremoniously

There must be something about Atty. Harry Roque that piqued President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Duque's unceremonial "dumping" as spokesperson was as classic as any other. Imagine, you were sent for an official trip to China only to be dumped while you are abroad, effectively making you worthless and without any authority to negotiate or talk for and on behalf of government.

That's Duterte's brand of friendship. To my mind, that's expected. Kung ako din is Duterte, why will I trust a Roque? If Roque can dump his own friends for his political ambition, all the more will I actually think twice or even thrice about him.

Some would say, ever since naman, Roque was not really inside the kulambo, so to speak. He's not really close to Mr. Duterte. Others say, Roque was a victim of internal politics in Malacanan. Roque vowed not to run but he reportedly insisted before the President that he be included in the administration slate. That, to Mr. Duterte, is a betrayal already.

Now, Roque has no political allies, a floating butterfly. He's definitely a Pariah as far as the human rights community and the academe are concerned. So, it's back to zero for Roque.

It would be a hard climb for him from now on but we have to also give it to Atty. Roque. What happened to him is a classic case in political games. Hope he learns something here.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Barely 3 years and our lot under Duterte

Barely three years in office, and the once mighty Duterte administration is no more. It has disintegrated. And we are left with nothing but an economy teetering to the brink of collapse, more than 15,000 Filipinos both the guilty and the innocent dead, a direction-less government, drugs out on the streets once more, this time, more affordable at 700 per pop, grafters getting their way, cartel lords laughing themselves hoarse straight to their banks and more people suffering from hunger more times than ever before. Look at the landscape. While we are all praises for the rise of new skyscrapers, new malls, new bridges and new roads, behind that tourist-sy mirage are a people suffering from poverty.

The promises that animated the minds of about 16 million Filipinos, of solving the drug problem in six months, of cutting down the number of people without job security, of pursuing the welfare of OFWs and of improving the lot of many, have all been relegated to the trashcan. What we have left are hundreds of hours of video showing a President cursing almost everybody he nicpicked. He has cursed God, priests, poor Filipinos, women, straights, gays, lesbians, people victimized by disasters, Joma and his NPAs, Muslims, Terrorists, Congressmen, Senators, cabinet people, Obama, Trump, a Canadian president, the United Nations, human rights activists, CHR chiefs, a frail old Australian nun, his disease, soldiers, cops, rowdy mayors, a governor, even his erring son and his girlfriend who got herself impregnated by an actor.

Yes, things changed. From 26 pesos per liter of diesel, we now have 46 pesos per liter. And the international price of a barrel has not even reached US$90. More farmers got themselves the brunt end of the stick when government failed to buy their stuff and food importers getting their way thanks to Public Relations.

Yes, our lives have improved because we now eat imported rice, pork, chicken, possibly even beef and veggies. From a very efficient agricultural resource of most Asians and Western countries, this country of ours is now an unwilling recipient of food stuffs from other countries like China which does not go thru rigid and strict inspections and passed off as good to eat.

And things really changed. We are being fed shit promises of futures secured thru foreign deployment and recruitment. We are being entertained beyond our expectations by the bloody galore of bodies lined up, all who fought cops during drug busts, of bodies buried in landslides, of bodies inside caves dugged up by irresponsible miners and of bodies of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) killed by their employers, their employer's governments and others, like white slavers.

While we are inured by all these, we are all enamored by the verbal theatrics of a Medical Technologist turned soft porn actress turn Asec and eventually, turn either a Congresswoman or a Senator. Imagine such a character writing laws that change our identity as Filipinos and rationalizing the killing not just of people but of morals which we, poor folks, only treasure as the only things we can pass on to our next of kin when we die.

These things I wrote are not fake news. They really happened. Of course, we can blame the system, the very system that produced these fine characters of our political tragedy. While we do so, we forget that these people are getting away with their dangerous and lethal antics that offend not just our sensitivities but our very souls as Filipinos.

I blame our faithless devotion to the Mammon. I blame our lack of faith in God, the God that tries every single time to prove that He exists in our lives. We are so concerned with how and where to get our next morsel of rice while we forget that God provides, every single time!

I blame these false prophets, both in the political, economic and religious spheres, who regale us with their promises of salvation, who promise to give us the relief we so desire for a very long time as a people, and who vowed to lead us to Eden, only to realize later on that we are being led to the slaughterhouse being run by IMperialist China and the United States.

O, my Motherland, I cry for you. I shed these tears because I now fear for the future of my kids. I am but only one but what about these millions who are trapped here, those who have rooted themselves in these lands and who are as hopeless and powerless as I am.

O, Inang Bayan, where are the patriots, the ones who truly care for the people! They are now wine sipping with the Oligarchs, playing their games and enjoying the praises of these people, actually parasites that suck the blood off my people!

There will be justice, I am definitely sure. Those who caused misery to my people, they will surely suffer. They will surely get those boils that afflicted the Egyptians the task masters of God's first people. They and their kin will get the punishment from God.

He, who gets fantabulous profits from higher fuel prices and uses this to build an empire, you know who you are, prepare for punishment. These seven big rice traders who manipulated the prices of rice, be prepared to leave this country. Those now profit from imports, get ready. It may not be now, it may not be this time, it may not even be with this government or the next, but surely, justice will be served. This is the immutable law of nature. As they say, those who sow, they reap.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Junta in the offing?

Since 1946, the Philippine Military has been avoiding the prospect of them becoming administrators of the state instead of their traditional role as protectors. Since the sixties, the AFP stood on a grand tradition before its Asian neighbors as the only military institution which has never ever considered getting political power for itself. Undeniably, there has been occasions when some AFP members considered launching a coup to replace the inept civilian administration like in the case of former president Carlos P. Garcia. It was only in 1986 when things changed which, unfortunately, even legitimitized military intervention on the affairs of the state.

The question which is now being asked is this--- is it time for the Philippine polity to yield to its guardians? I asked this because if we are to look at the very landscape we live right now, it seemed that thru the actions of President Duterte and his predecessors from 1986, the civilian leadership has slowly yielded political power to members of the AFP, wittingly or unwittingly based on the belief that military men are more competent than civilians. I would not expand this anymore. There is empirical basis for such an assumption, not just on the promotions of ex-Generals to sensitive bureaucratic posts, but also to the participation of members of PMA classes even in the elections.

What researchers had failed to observe is the expanding influence of military-oriented fraternities in the formation of grass-roots organisations. Coups of the eighties failed because of the lack of a civilian support component. With RAM transforming and behaving as a fraternity which accepted not just members of the armed forces but likewise civilians and with former activists giving an ideological justification of military intervention explained and further propounded thru Neo-Leftist language, there is enough reason to believe that our present time is ripe for the realization of their goals. And if such a grand enterprise do happen in the next succeeding days, blame not the academics who failed to predict its rise.

Duterte and the emergence of a surveillance state

It was at this space I think, when I wrote about President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in 2015 and left it with an enigmatic question--whether he, a provincial, has the guts to fight it out with the "Big Boys." This is my simplistic analysis of Mr. Duterte and an attempt to gauge the rate of success a Duterte administration would have ranged against the interests of what Benedict Anderson once described as a "cacique elite." Anderson's description of our present-day oligarchs is, I think, still holds true because though we ascribe certain industries to those names listed in Forbes' Billionaire lists as " food czar", " Mall czar", etal, the basis of most of the wealth of these oligarchs is still land. However, there is a noticeable shift in the way wealth from land is produced, from maximising land as resource to land rents. Renting space is now the basis of fantabulous wealth by these Filipino oligarchs and this involves, wittingly or unwittingly, government. This explains why skyscapers now jutt the urban landscape, and medium-rise ones populate cities and towns in the provinces.

The danger of this shift is it created an inevitable dependency between the economic or business with those of the public or government. Goaded by optimistic estimates of rent driven by the growth of retail businesses and in a way, by tourists and foreign expatriates, firms of these oligarchs are now busy erecting medium-rise apartelles, hostels and shopping malls, a sign that Big Businesses are anticipating the growth of the retail sector and the need of space is still seen as high and spaces seemed inadequate. The expansion therefore is good for the economy in the long run.

However, having a strong relationship with local government units is now a necessity even for global businesses operating in this country. The lack of a definite and standardized set of policies leads to the inevitable, as companies need governmental support (thru permits, etal) for the continuation of its operations in the country. As every single thing has already been regulated, the globalizing effects of the entry of these firms into the country is beginning to suffer a strangle-hold. Though the global landscape is transforming into a more liberal one, in the Philippines, the exercise of liberality remains a privilege and often, with a price. So, to avoid complications, businesses now have to deal with government to assure continuity of business operations.

Business continuity therefore in this country rests not on anything except having a good relationship with those in government. Nothing wrong except that, in our kind of democracy, our leaders interpret this relationship as fiduciary based. Regulators dangle their powers with one hand extended and the other holding a mallet. The bureaucratic corruption has become endemic due to the politics of the caciques.

Mr. Duterte came with guns a-blazing, and promising the moon and the stars of change. He boasted how Davao became a mega city by curbing criminality that discourages trade. The logic is simple--elect me into office and I shall rid this country of the menace of crime so that businesses may prosper and thrive.

This may be the Dutertismo that made several well-meaning people like the President but among those who profess their love for him, they have a more sinister and simplistic analysis of what ills this country. And the more they profess love for Duterte, the more they show how they misunderstand the President when they interpret his style as a dictatorship.

Nearly two and a half years in office, and Mr. Duterte had probably already realized the enormity of the problem which he already did when he threw his hands in the air over EDSA traffic and the drug menace. Big-time crimes are being handled by these Big Boys who have turned this bureaucracy into their personal fiefdoms. These elites have turned the bureaucracy into a gigantic louse which sucks the blood from the people's veins and which these elites feed their bellies with it.

Worse, the legal and structural framework of this government had been designed to favor these "Big Boys." Mr. Duterte was made to believe that Federalism is the probable answer to deconstruct this framework but this proposal is full of risks especially now that the country is nearing an economic crisis of epic proportions. The solution is really social engineering but due to the character weaknesses of some well-meaning people fooled into a Rizalist thinking, the solution is being shelved every single time this is mentioned.

Mr. Duterte is now facing a serious dilemma and which I think he knows-- in its attempts at securing a more stronger position than these "Big Boys", he unwittingly gave the AFP most of his powers as Chief Executive. Wittingly or unwittingly, Mr. Duterte dragged everybody down to a path which leads to an uncertain consequence.

By appointing retired military officials to sensitive posts in the bureaucracy, Mr. Duterte has created a surveillance state preparatory towards an autocratic state. Not only does the presence of military officers in government a sign of a structuring of the government as a military institution, but the appearance of these officers' civilian supporters and funders is now being seen as a threat to democracy.

More on this in the next blog...

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Facing the Issue on Duterte's Illness Squarely

Let me be clear before I express my views here--- I do not wish or intend to attribute any illness upon the President nor do I wish him to be sick. I am concerned with the affairs of the state. Whether or not Mr. Duterte is sick is not the topic of this blog entry. 

This is about presidential succession. We need to discuss this as early as now regardless of the results of the colonoscopy of President Duterte.

In Article 7 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution especially on presidential succession (section 8), only death remains untested. It was under the 1935 Constitution that death was the cause of the presidential succession (when Magsaysay died and Garcia succeeded him to the post). The concepts on resignation and permanent disability had been discussed at length in the highly contentious Estrada vs. Desierto case wherein the concept of "constructive resignation" was raised alongside the interpretation of "permanent disability" as the inability to exercise the functions of the office other than being physically or mentally incapacitated. This is what Justice Bellosillo wrote in his concurring opinion in this case.

Which brings me to my topic today--- what if the situation is that of a President deemed ill by competent medical authorities and continuing his duties as President unduly harms or puts in jeopardy his very own life? Can he continue to serve knowing full well that the lingering disease impairs his mental and physical faculties? May he then invoke resignation? 

Only Section 12 talks about the President having a "serious illness." It only says that some identified members of the Cabinet must not be barred but must have access to the President during this time of illness. It does not say what to do if a President suffers from a serious illness. I believe Section 11 will probably be used in this--when the sick President transmits his letter of resignation to the President of the Senate, in this case, Senator Tito Sotto, and the Speaker of the House, Cong. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In both instances, when transmission is voluntary on the president or instigated by members of his cabinet, the Vice President assumes the position as "acting president."

We all know what cancer does to a person--it weakens his immune system and eventually prevents him from enjoying his ordinary life. Having lung and colon cancers weakens one's mental faculties, which, if we are to follow Bellosillo's arguments in the Estrada vs. Desierto's is an impediment to the full exercise of one's office. The impairment may actually be permanent for a President to be declared unfit for office. Meaning, the condition of a President must be totally difficult for him to discharge his functions according to the intention of the framers of the Constitution. Bellosillo cited the transcript of the Constitutional Convention members and found that the disability could actually be of "all kinds" which "will disable or incapacitate the President and the Vice President from the performance of his duties." see this link:

How about if a President is suffering from a lingering disease, should such condition be a cause for resignation or removal from office? Up to when will a President be allowed to occupy his office? Is it from the time of the discovery of the illness or up to the time of his death?

Having a government with a sick President weakens the state in the eyes of its enemies, both internal and external. We may see a situation when a majority of Duterte's cabinet declares him sick before Congress and the Senate which eventually or automatically gives the Vice President the constitutional right to succeed Mr. Duterte as President.

Now, the political ramifications later....

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Red October yarn and when it is time to re-read History

It is not the fault of the new generation of Filipinos why they have this romanticized view of the period from 1970-1986. I realized while reading Agoncillo's HIstory of the Filipino People, which is the required reading for college students here, that this entire period was never discussed at length by Agoncillo. It was as we lost ten years and relegated these years to the dustbin of memory. I don't fault Agoncillo-- his book came out during those tumultuous times and he died a year before EDSA revolution. How can he write about the entire martial law period when it was still barely alive when he died?

Another required reading--Renato Constantino's history book--is also an inadequate account of the period. Filipinos need a new history book that would show what really happened after 1966--- the last year in Agoncillo's book.

This, however, is not my topic for tonight. My topic for tonight is about historical dementia--our tendency to forget events of the past and remember only those who would fit our frame of understanding.

I write this because we are living in a time when several leaders of ours want to risk our very futures to experiment on some idea which they know, and several others too, would surely further worsen our condition.

Several friends are in a quandary why the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is propagating this yarn called Red October. Is it to save the hide of their Commander in Chief who first spewed this poison into the public sphere?

No one--except Duterte fanatics-- believe this Red October yarn simply because the Communist Party of the Philippines, even they know that the situation is definitely not ripe for a true socialist revolution. This will eventually come about yes, but the Philippine situation requires not a Socialist upheaval but a National democratic revolution and establish first a government that will truly give the people a better standard of living.

In a budget hearing, the AFP already corrected Duterte's assertions that an ouster plot is in the offing being budgeted and supported not just by the CPP but by the Liberal Party and the Magdalos of Trillanes. The AFP just did a 180 and exonerated or "cleared" the Magdalos and the Liberals and kept a consistent line of blaming the Communists for plotting Duterte's downfall.

Sincerely, every single Filipino knows that there is simply no need to act against Duterte or cause his downfall. His continued mismanagement of the economy, his adamance to really fire and prosecute erring members of his official family and his propensity for quick fixes are sure-fire ways of really causing this administration serious harm.

What baffles some is the AFP's willingness to still issue statements about this so-called plot. Is it just a face saving way for them and for Duterte? Or something really big is about to happen by October 17 or media says, October 31st?

The Presidential spokesperson already denied that the government is planning to prop a revolutionary government or extend martial rule. So, if there is no plan whatsover to do this, why create such a baloney of a story which is causing several jitters from foreign and local investors? Many are feeling that they are somewhat living in "suspended animation." More and more people are putting their future plans off simply on the basis of this yarn.

Which is worse--being arrested or dying due to the worsening economy? High prices of basic commodities are causing not just discomfiture for most but utter suffering. If these things continue, the CPP does not need to recruit additional manpower--it would be the people themselves who would fill the streets with their anger.

You can feel it in the air--people are silently suffering from economic deprivation and if this economic crisis lingers--this surely could lead to a somewhat "Manila Spring" similar to that which happened in Arab countries several years ago. Our condition is worse compared with that of the seventies because people are really suffering and they are exhibiting this deprivation thru other means.

What is more disconcerting is seeing the AFP succumb to the very same wrongs and faulty analyses and assumptions as those taken by Marcos prior to the declaration of martial law. Martial law or any form of dictatorship or autocratic tendencies destroyed the military institution before and it took the AFP and the DND three decades to recover.

While several hawks are desirous to test their new guns and ammo and now being egged on by this president, these people within the establishment must consider those historical lessons which the institution so painfully realized after 1980.

Mr. Duterte just told the AFP that it is time to neutralize the enemy as if war is the only option to erase every Communist out there. Time and time again, and many studies and researches later show that war is never really the final nail that sealed an insurgency's death. The employment of state violence upon its citizens is never really an effective counter-insurgency strategy. The fact is--the more the state uses violence to stop or kill dissent, the more the movement of dissent grows.

The AFP of today and the AFP of the 70's may actually be substantially different but the terrain and the strategies employed by revolutionaries remain potently the same. Even if they level the mountains, cut off all the trees and level every city in this archipelago, the embers of dissent and the longing for change will remain as sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.  For you are not defeating the idea--you are adding the fodder that justifies the very act of your enemy.

And every one knows that war destroys armies and militaries. War leads to an exhaustion of state resources and fuels destabilization. Worse, war changes men. When the evil effects of war enters the souls and minds of every soldier, these cause  more abuses; and the more repressive a state becomes. The very same repression employed by the state to defend itself against its enemies is the very same one which will utterly destroy it later.

It already happened in the history of the AFP. Those in the leadership posts of the AFP and the PNP know this because they were the PO1's and the lieutenants who staked their lives hunting down Marcos' enemies and running after the rebels during those tumultuous seventies. While the AFP may actually be more equipped now and empowered by technologies, the effects of using wars as tools for solving the problems of the state remain practically the same. Why risk when there is simply no need to?

Friday, September 28, 2018

Red Alert for Democracy in October

Is the Philippine National Police (PNP) part of a bigger scheme to effect an artificial emergency situation which will justify the extension of martial rule? It seemed like it.

The thing is, their effort to create something big out of this alleged raid in Teresa Rizal fizzled out. The issue begs several questions which is, unfortunately, causes doubt in the minds of the public.

The PNP according to General Oscar Albayalde is looking into the possibility that those people arrested and the alleged cache of arms found are linked with this bogey, Red October. Why Rizal? Well, everyone knows that Rizal is the bailiwick of the Magdalos, since most of its members reside there. So, to make it appear that there is an active alliance between the Magdalos and CPP-NPA, they need something like this.

Personally, I don't believe that the PNP will stoop this low to believe what the AFP intelligence wants us to believe.

That farm, according to sources, is private property of a big businesswoman close to PNP personnel. It is highly doubtful if this businesswoman is close to Tirso Alcantara and another supposed Communist party member.

And why would such a businesswoman involve herself with Communists? There are also two Chinese nationals arrested. Are our state security agencies insinuating that old yarn that the Chinese Communists are financing CPP-NPA? Many suspect that China gave Duterte that intelligence report. So, China is now moving to effect a so-called plot just to use it as leverage with Duterte? It does'nt really follow. It's too conspiratorial for my taste.

So, China is behind other two groups, namely Magdalo and the CPP-NPA? Duterte is close with China. Don't tell me that China is intervening to ensure that those who will replace Duterte will also pursue China's interests?

I agree with Inday Espina-Varona--there is something brewing somewhere and expect some earthshaking thing to happen next month, courtesy of this administration. This administration has thrived with destabilization to cloak or mask its inefficiencies, its corruption and its involvement in high crimes.

Among all political groups now in existence, the most organized, the most consolidated with the most funding are DUTERTE ALLIES. Whose interests will now be affected especially now that the Duterte administration already decided to focus on inflation instead of charter change or Federalism? Whose interests and positions will be affected once Bongbong Marcos wins the recount and assume the vice presidency? There are now four contending political forces within the Duterte administration, each with their own interests and differing political aims. They are the ones causing the destabilization to make Duterte pliable to their demands and effect concessions.

UNLIKE Marcos, who formed his own oligarchical group prior to Martial law, Duterte is still in the process of consolidating all his allies under him. And time for him is running out. He is finding it extremely difficult to effect such a consolidation since by nature, these groups have differing often conflicting interests. It is either he does it alone thru his daughter Sara or allow one group to ascend and dominate the others. Whatever direction they decide to take, one inevitable consequence of it is the weakening of the center of Power. And when one weakens, another strengthens. That's the law of nature.